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Catching the Train from Bucharest to Chisinau

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Catching the Bucharest to Chisinau train can be daunting at first, so here’s everything you need to know about the train to Moldova (including prices!)

Bucharest to Chisinau train

I can honestly say catching the train from Bucharest to Chisinau was one of the best train journeys I did while travelling through Europe.

This Soviet-era train harks backs to a different time in Eastern Europe. A time when Russia ruled the roost, and the Bucharest to Chisinau train isn’t just a way of getting from one place to another, it is so much more than that. It’s like travelling in a museum where you go to sleep in one country and wake up in another.

As many travellers will know, there is something quite romantic about travelling on a sleeper train from one country to another. I love nothing more than settling down for the night and watching the world go by through a window. Not only that, but it is always such an authentic experience.

The Bucharest to Chisinau sleeper train is no different, so here’s everything you need to know about how to catch the train.

Once you’re in Chisnau, then make sure you check out my guide on the best things to do in Chisinau for when you’re there!

bucharest chisinau train
Catching the train from Bucharest to Chisinau

Bucharest train station

You catch the train from Bucharest to Moldova from the main international station; Gara du Nord.

Gara du Nord can be accessed from the metro stations (either line M1 or M3 will take you directly to Gara du Nord). A metro ticket costs 4 lei, so around about €1.

Once at Gara du Nord, you will need to walk to the international ticket office (this is on the far left as you face the station). Alternatively, ask someone where it is when you are there.

The ticket counter you want to buy a ticket from is booth number one.

bucharest to moldova
This is what the station at Chisinau looks like

How much does a ticket from Bucharest to Chisinau cost?

A train ticket from Bucharest to Chisinau costs 155 lei (approximately €36). This is a lot cheaper than flying to Chisinau.

The daily train leaves at 19:35 and arrives in Chisinau at 08:55. The trains are like German clockwork; they are always on time.

To find which platform it leaves from, check your train number with the main Gara du Nord departure board. The platform number should be in the top right of the ticket.

I would always recommend turning up at least 20 minutes before the train departs. Then you can pick up some snacks from Bucharest train station and ensure you’ve got the right platform. There is nothing worse than panicking and rushing for a train.

When you get on board the train itself, don’t be alarmed when the conductor takes your ticket. This is routine and they will give it back to you upon arrival in Chisinau.

Unfortunately, you can’t currently book a ticket online, though I’m sure this will change at some point in the future.

bucharest to chisinau sleeper train
I thought the train was quite luxurious. Certainly well worth the money

How long does the train take?

The train from Bucharest to Chisinau takes approximately 13 and a half hours, so make sure you’ve got plenty of food and water before you board the train.

As it stands there is no food carriage on board the train, so make sure you’ve got food with you if you want to eat. I ate beforehand, but it wouldn’t of been a proper train trip without some sweets.

There are lots of places to eat at Bucharest train station beforehand though. Aim for there if you’re looking for somewhere close by.

eastern europe train travel
The train takes approximately 13 and a half hours

What’s the room like?

As I am sure you can imagine, the Bucharest Chisinau train isn’t exactly the most popular, so it’s rare to share your room with more than one other person (there are four beds per room).

If you really want to be on your own, often there are spare, empty rooms so just walk along the carriages looking for a different cabin.

Speak to the conductor, offer him a tip and ask if you can change rooms. This is almost guaranteed to work if you want your own room.

I actually found the beds surprisingly comfortable. Also, each cabin comes with its own fresh bedding. Again, I found everything clean and comfortable.

As you can see, there’s a little table in each cabin where you can eat off. There are also plugs in each room too. Just make sure you bring your adapter as you’ll need that.

All in all I found the rooms really nice. They had this old-school luxury to them.

bucharest to moldova train
This is what a standard room looks like

Crossing the border from Bucharest to Moldova

Your passport will be checked twice; once when you leave Romania, and once when you enter Moldova.

Now, this border crossing can take quite a bit of time (on my return it took around three hours). This is because they need to change the wheels on the train (yes, you read that right – they need to change the wheels).

Russian train tracks are slightly winder than the European standard tracks – this is known as Russian broad gauge.

The reason for this is because Russia wanted to vet which trains entered their country. It effectively was a barrier on all train tracks along the Russian border. They wanted to prevent the smuggling of drugs, guns, money you name it, into their borders. Also, they wanted to stall the Germans should they ever invade Russia, hence the difference in track size. These days it is just a major inconvenience.

To change the wheels, they have to hoist the train up and physically pull the wheels out from underneath it; as I am sure you can imagine, this can take some time.

moldova border
At the border between Romania and Moldova they have to change the wheels on the train

As this usually happens around 1 or 2am, the best thing you can do is keep your passport in your pocket and drift off to sleep; a border patrol guard will wake you if they need anything.

Once you’ve got through the border, it is straight to the capital city, Chisinau. Or as the locals spell it, Kishinev.

Once in Chisinau, save yourself the time and hassle by getting a taxi to the city centre. It’ll only cost 30 lei (approximately €2). A quick word of warning: the Moldovan lei is different to the Romanian lei.  That can be quite confusing when you arrived early in the morning.

Otherwise, there are trams outside the station, but good luck working out which is the right one.

chisinau train station
This is outside the train station at Chisinau

Dangers and annoyances in Moldova

Beware of people speaking surprisingly good English wanting to help you out – more often than not it is a scam or they want something.

Either they will want money for giving you the information (as if you couldn’t work it out for yourself), or they might try this:

If it is obvious you’ve never been to Gara du Nord before or that you’ve just come from another country, they will offer to pay for your ticket for you knowing you won’t have any Romanian lei.

Obviously feeling bad some ‘kind’ stranger has just paid for your ticket, you immediately go to an ATM machine to repay them back.

Once they see how much money you have taken out, they will ask for a fee for ‘helping you out’. If you get to this stage, just give them 10 lei (approximately €2) and walk away.

This happened to a couple of friends of mine, so it does actually happen!

bucharest to chisinau
Watch out for some dangers and annoyances. Just make sure you are careful

Bus from Bucharest to Chisinau

For those of you, there is a Bucharest to Chisinau bus if you’d prefer. The journey is around 320 miles and can take up to 10 hours. However, all of that depends on traffic and what time you leave.

Personally, I would always recommend the train as I find it such a romantic way to travel. Also, the fact that it’s a night train to Moldova means you can save on accommodation and sleep on the way. There’s nothing quite like waking up in a new country!

So there you go. That’s everything you need to know about catching the train from Bucharest to Chisinau.

As I said, catching the Bucharest to Chisinau train is such an amazing experience and it was definitely one of my highlights while travelling around Eastern Europe. Just give it a go and you’ll find out for yourself!

Have you ever caught the train from Bucharest to Chisinau? It so what did you think of the experience? Let me know in the comments below!

Planning a trip around Europe? Then bookmark my Eastern Europe itinerary. Also, check out my guides to Athens, Budapest, Riga and Tallinn.

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If you're catching the train from Bucharest to Chisinau you're in for one helluva good ride. Here is everything you need to know about the train.

About the Author

  • Macca Sherifi

    Macca Sherifi is the founder of the multiple award-winning blogs An Adventurous World and the Great British Bucket List. Every month he inspires over 200,000 avid readers to travel the world.

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71 thoughts on “Catching the Train from Bucharest to Chisinau”

  1. Thanks for this information. I found it really useful! Here’s a few comments from my journey:
    I caught the train from Bucharest to Chisinău in October 2023. The ticket was 166 Lei.
    I bought it at the International ticket office in Bucharest railway station. The lady spoke excellent English – no problem. I paid on credit card.
    The train left at 7.20 p.m.
    It was a Sunday night and the train was pretty full. All the berths in my compartment were filled.
    I didn’t realise my mobile phone provider didn’t work in Moldova, so I had no signal when we passed the border. But I got Wi-Fi in the café at the Chisinău railway station and bought an eSIM (I used Airalo – very easy). So no problem after that. The café in the railway station is really good – great to have the Wi-Fi.
    And there is a cash exchange booth that is open 24/7.
    Definitely a journey worth doing!

    • Thank you for all this up-to-date information Paul, it’s really really useful for people looking to book themselves. Thanks!

    • Thanks for commenting! From what I understand the train is currently operational and running at the moment – I hope you’re able to catch it!

  2. Hoping to take it to Moldova next week and return a few days later. My understanding is it only runs 3 days a week? What days? It is so hard to find a schedule so I can plan. Thanks for your original blog post!!! Hope we make it.

    • Hi Steve, sorry for the late reply! Did you manage to catch the train in the end? Any update on the schedule would be really appreciated for other readers!

  3. Does anyone know if the train tickets can be booked online? We want to take the night train within three weeks.


    • I’m not too sure about that. I think you can still only buy the tickets in person, but I’m not 100% sure!

  4. Thank you for this! Does anyone know if the Ukraine invasion has impacted the night train? (know it’s impacted flights and airspace)

    • From what I’ve heard, the night train is back up and running. I know a few people who have used it for humanitarian aid which is great news.

  5. Hi there love this article! Notice at the top of this page you say this night train isn’t running at the moment, any update on that? I’ve been able to book return tickets via Romanian railways for a couple of weeks time.

    • Sorry, yes, the train is back up and running now! It only started up a couple of weeks ago, so you’ve timed it well!

  6. I’d like to take this train by then end of this month (Oct/21).
    Does anyone know if it is still in service or stoped due to Covid-19?

    Thanks in advance for any information.

    • Hi Anderson, I’m not too sure if it’s back up and running yet. I had heard they’d disabled it for Covid, but hopefully it’s back now! Sorry I can’t be more help!

    • @Anderson Lessa,

      Have you found anymore info?
      I’m planning on doing the same at the end of this month too but can’t see anything on the international timetable of the Romanian railway website. :/

  7. Do you have any idea how often this train goes ? I’m unable to find a timetable. I’d like to take it in the weekend

    • The train *might* no longer be running due to Covid. I am just checking to see whether this information is accurate.

  8. Hi! We went to the railway station following your advice and told us that this train doesn’t exist no more due to covid. I don’t know if this is the right information or I missunderstood it. Anyone travelled with this train this summer? Thank you!

  9. How is luggage handled? Is it stored somewhere or do I bring it into my cabin/carriage? I will be traveling with 4 large and heavy pieces of luggage. Is the train the best way to travel with so many pieces? Thank you for this post! It is a train trip I look forward to.

    • I had my luggage (2 bags) with me in my cabin. It depends on how busy it is, but if you have a cabin to yourself then having that amount of luggage won’t be a problem at all. If it’s busy, I’m sure they would store your luggage elsewhere too – I found the train conductors really helpful. I hope that helps!

  10. Hello,
    I will like to travel from Chisinau to Bacharist for canada visa submission. I am not a citizen of Moldova, I only came for vacation. Can I then travel still?

    • Yes, I assume so. I think pretty much all international citizens can use the border crossing, so you shouldn’t have any trouble at all. Good luck with it!

  11. I did the trip January this year, Buch-Chis-Buch after spending few days in Moldova. Certainly a trip back in time, Samovar in each carriage, heating still done with coal furnaces in each carriage. Yes you are right, no food car on board. But great ride and nostalgia, very cool. You can actually pay online now, but have to pick up tickets from international window at Gare ‘De’ Nord. You can also pay for a single now, you can get a two berth cabin but will be on your own. Someone asked about SIM card at Chisinau, no hope in hell lol. I walked all over near station and no joy, but head right at end of road out of station and walk up to the Grand Hall shopping mall, about 10 mins walk, on ground floor just inside door I found a great little mobile phone kiosk and guy was outstanding cos he wanted to practice English. I gave him a little gift from Australia, I think a $10 note and he ended up giving me a Mold Sim, installed etc for free. Great dude, excellent chat. Go with the flow on train, its old and tired but thats half the fun, its unique. I can’t stand moaning tourists, be adventurous, isn’t that why people travel?

    • It’s crazy, isn’t it? It really is likes stepping back in time and so fascinating seeing a city so different from its neighbours. It’s great to hear you can pay online now – I’ll make sure I update my article with that information to let people know. I completely agree with you though – life’s about these little adventures and enjoying it along the way. I’m so happy you had a great time and a positive experience!

    • I took it back in 2020. I didn’t have any tablets or phones with me and traveled alone. I was bored senseless toward the end. Bring some books or movies on your phone or travel with friends

  12. Hi, I just booked a ticket for this train trip and it only cost me 91ron maybe I have a second class ticket (on the ticket it just sais sleeper). When lining up to buy the ticket a woman came up to me trying to help, thankfully I had spent 4 days in Bucharest so I had plenty of local currency. Do you know if I can buy a Moldovan Sim at Chisinau Station, I’m basically flying blind without Google maps.

    • Thanks for your comment Mick! It sounds like you’ve got on well with the sleeper train which is great to hear. It’s probably a little late but I would expect you’d be able to pick up a sim card in Moldova no problem at all.

  13. is there a 220v AC electrical socket available for each sleeping berth? I travel with small medical device which needs 220v AC to operate. thanks

  14. Experiences June 1, 2019

    – Cabin were small, cigarette smoke inside, dark, and alongside a co-traveller, which can be fine, but when other cabins were larger and unoccupied why not give me that extra space for my first class ticket.

    – A friend, who did the trip, said that boarder control and change of bogies occur between 2-5am so if not the former wake you up the later will.

    As I saw the cabin, I went out and into Gara de Nord and bought a flight ticket for next day

    • Ah I’m sorry you didn’t have the best experience Soren! It does seem strange that they put strangers together in the same cabin, but often people move once the train leaves. And yes, you are woken up in the middle on the night but I think that’s part of the experience!

  15. To the center of Chisinau, take trolleybus 1, 4 or 8 from a bus stop 200m in front of the train station, the bus stop is on the left side after you walked about 200m. The price is 2 lei and you pay in the bus. Not to the driver, but to somebody who is selling tickets. And you pay with cash.

    • Perfect advice! Thanks very much for commenting and for letting people know about the price of tickets – I really appreciate it.

  16. I took that route once. Very easy to find the ticket booth. Its on the left from the main gate in Bucharest. The trip was also an experience…. Safe and nice. Keep your backpack under you seat while sleeping.

  17. Are there any very high areas the train travels through – big drops – I am PETRIFIED of heights lol. Also this is an awesome post – very detailed – so thank you for that

    • Not that I can remember Helena, no! I’m pretty sure it’s fairly flat all the way, and obviously as it’s a sleeper train you wouldn’t notice it anyway!

  18. I am curious if there is heating on the train. I want to take it in Jan but can not stand to be freezing for 13 hours? Is there a meal cart? I took a 13 hours night train in Ukraine and there was not. It was fine as it is summer. However if the train wrecks in mid winter, it would be dangerous to have no heating.

    • Good question! I think there is heating, yes. I do remember there being a radiator in the cabin. There’s also plenty of bedding too. However, there wasn’t a meal cart, so it’s best to get all the food and drink you need before your trip. Good luck with it!

  19. Thanks for the very interesting post. I am looking at doing this trip in the summer. Will I be able to use English in Bucharest to buy a ticket for this train or is that a problem in Romania?

    • That won’t be a problem at all! I can assure you I don’t speak any Romanian (despite trying to learn it) and I managed to book a ticket fine. There’s a tourist booking office and they speak English there. I hope that helps and good luck with your trip!

  20. Hi. Great blog! I think we would take the train for the experience rather than the bus. If we wanted to move cabin to an unused one how much would you suggest tipping the conductor?

    • Thank you! We’re glad you like it!

      Taking the overnight train is such an amazing experience and I would really recommend it. It’s hard to say how much you need to tip though. Often the train’s not full, so it shouldn’t be much of a problem anyway, but I wouldn’t say more than €5-10. Good luck with it!

  21. 155 Lei is a lot of money. Buses leaves from Filaret Bus from 65 to 85 lei and much faster. For informaton autogari.ro

  22. Hi! Do you know how can I book for the train? Because I will be travelling with 16 other people and we need to book in advance. Many thanks!

    • Hi there! Best to use a travel company / travel agent in Bucharest to help you out with that many people I would say. Good luck with it!

    • That’s right Greg! I bought my ticket on the day no problems at all. However, if you’re in Bucharest the day before, then go and get your ticket just to be on the safe side. Happy travels!

  23. Thank you! I can’t find booking information to book from Chisinau to Bucharest. I’m also traveling with my family and our cats. Do you know any of those rules?

    • Hi Carrie,

      Thanks for your comment. If you’re booking a ticket, you need to do so in person or via a travel agent when you’re in Romania or Moldova. A travel agent (much like any travel agency) can call ahead and book a ticket, but this will cost you a little bit more.

      If regards to travelling with your family, that’s all fine. With your cats, I honestly don’t know, but I can’t see why it would be a problem if you all had your own cabin. I saw lots of people travelling with weird and wonderful things; I can’t see why cats would be any different.

      Good luck with it and let me know how you get on.




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